Carnegie Mellon University

About the First Destination Career Outcomes

The First Destination Career Outcomes dashboard currently includes data from the Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The data reflects graduates’ first destination outcome through December 31st of each year. For example, the Graduating Class of 2020 was completed by December 31, 2020.

First Destination data is collected and disseminated by the CPDC in accordance with the survey standards and protocols set forth by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

To protect respondent confidentiality, the CPDC does not share raw survey data. For questions about the dashboard or survey, contact the CPDC at:

Data Sources: Handshake First Destination Survey (Administered by CPDC)

Douglas Stouch, Associate Director for Early Engagement & Assessment, CPDC
Lisa Dickter, Director for Undergraduate Career Consultants, CPDC
Marcie Foy, Director for Graduate Engineering & Computer Science Career Consultants, CPDC

Data Steward: Joanna Dickert, Associate Dean of Educational Experience Assessment, Student Affairs

Refresh Rate: Annually (January)

  • Graduation Year: Defined as each year's graduating class which includes those students who completed degrees between the periods of July 1 to June 30 each year, a time period consistent with degree completion reporting requirements established by the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) program.
  • For example, for purposes of outcomes reporting, the Class of 2020 includes all graduates who completed degrees between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
  • Knowledge Rate: The percent of graduates for which the institution has reasonable and verifiable information concerning the graduates' postgraduation career activities. 
  • This information comes directly from the graduates via the Handshake First Destination Survey and career consultant outreach. Relevant data, however, may also be provided by employers, or obtained through other sources (e.g., academic departments and faculty, Linkedin profiles, and other online sources).
  • First Destination Career Outcome: Initial career plan upon or following graduation, up to 6 months after May graduation. Includes full-time and part-time employment, matriculation to a program of further study (continuing education), starting a business (entrepreneurship), freelancing and auditioning, fellowships, military service, and volunteer service, seeking employment or a program of further study, and not seeking employment or further study.
  • Outcome data concerning individual graduates are organized into standardized categories. Individual graduates are included only once in the appropriate category which best represents their primary activity upon graduation.
  • Working: This category is defined as those graduates who indicated that they are employed full time (30 or more hours per week) or employed part time (less than 30 hours per week).
    • Employed at an organization (e.g., business, government, non-profit)
    • Employed as an entrepreneur (i.e. building a business)
    • Employed freelance (including independent consultants)
    • Employed in a temporary/contract work assignment (including internships)
    • Employed in a fellowship, postdoctoral residency or other postdoctoral appointment
    • Employed in a faculty tenure track position
    • Employed in a faculty non-tenure track position
    • Employed in all other work categories
  • Continuing Education: This category is defined as those graduates who have been accepted to and plan to matriculate into a program of further study.  
  • Seeking: This category is defined as those graduates who have indicated that they are seeking employment and engaged in the job search process or that they are seeking and have not yet enrolled in a program of continuing education.
  • Other: This category is defined as those graduates who are indicated one of the following:
    • Volunteer Service: participating in a volunteer or service program (e.g., Peace Corps, mission work)
    • Military Service: serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or armed forces of a home country.
    • Not Seeking: choose not to pursue either employment or continuing education at this time.
  • No Information Available (not included in dashboard): This category is defined as those graduates who, despite reasonable efforts on the part of the institution, have not responded to efforts to obtain information about their post-graduation outcomes. This is used to calculate "Knowledge Rate".
  • The median of base salaries reported by graduates who are employed, with the exception of internships, military service, and/or positions outside of the U.S.. Does not include bonuses, options, or any other compensation.
  • Median salary by location is revealed by hovering over the the location bubbles on the map chart.
  • To protect individual salary privacy, data is hidden for selections where less than 5 respondents reported salary.
  • Salaries for PhDs include those in post-doc and industry.
  • Locations presented on the map chart are defined as the closest Combined Statistical Area (CSA) to the reported city and state of the organization where the graduate is employed or continuing education.
  • CSAs are added to the data set by the CPDC, based on the reported city and state.
  • Hovering over location bubbles reveal the median salary within the selected CSA.
  • Identifying information was removed from the dataset, i.e., student name, email, card ID.
  • Bachelors students with dual degrees or double majors are only counted in their home college/department
  • BXA is an intercollege degree program (department) that combines interdisciplinary academics + Arts. To filter for this program, select BXA in the department field
  • Dual master’s degree recipients from the ETIM and MSTV dual degree programs outcome information is listed in both the MSTV/ETIM outcomes and the corresponding core engineering department/program
  • Class 2020 - Information for Master’s degree graduates does NOT include PhD students/candidates who earned a Master’s degree as part of the PhD program in which they were already enrolled.
  • Some recent graduates chose not to provide employer, job title, salary, and/or graduate school information in their response. Please note: If the number of responses is small, results are not displayed to protect the identities of individual respondents. Modify the filter(s), choose additional criteria or reset your selections.